Delphi has pushed its validation procedures to new levels to ensure the success of the electric sliding doors it is providing the Peugeot 1007.
“We have been testing parts since September 2003,” said Javier Perez-Hidaldo, chief engineer interior, based here at Delphi’s customer technology center where the door is made. “This is four times more than any other project. More than any other product.”
The 1007 has sliding doors instead of traditional hinged doors. Peugeot hopes the doors give the 1007 a competitive advantage over rivals such as the Renault Modus, Opel Meriva and Ford Fusion. Sales of the car start April 28.
Laurent Bresson, Delphi’s engineering manager for power products, said the partsmaker has been under immense pressure because of the extremely high interest in the doors.
Said Gilles Michel, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen’s head of platforms, technical affairs, “It has to be reliable. It is the core of the project.”
Perez-Hidaldo won’t say how many openings and closings the door was tested for, but he did say that if the validation specification was 100,000, Delphi tested for 200,000 and 300,000.
“We tested to fail,” he stressed.
Another key challenge Delphi faced was packaging. Other minivans with electric sliding doors – such as the Peugeot 807 – are much larger so Delphi has to pack the drive unit for the 1007’s doors under the floor between the front and back seats. In most large minivans the drive unit fits behind a panel near the D-pillar.
Power sliding doors are common on minivans. But those doors are primarily for the passengers behind the front seats. The passengers up front must enter and exit through hinged doors. That is not the case with the 1007.
By 2006, Delphi aims to supply more than 340,000 units annually in Europe with what it calls power closure products. The applications will range from small city cars to light commercial vehicles.